Shabuway to Expand in the Bay Area

The huge vegetable shabu-shabu plate at Shabuway in San Jose.

How else but in shabu-shabu-style dining can you enjoy a hot, nourishing, relatively healthful cook-it-yourself meal, and get a steam facial all at once?

If you’re as much of a fan as I am of this traditional Japanese dish of thinly sliced meats and veggies cooked tableside in a pot of  bubbling broth, you’ll be glad to hear that Shabuway, which already boasts three locations in the Bay Area, will be adding three more this spring.

Tokyo-raised Eiichi Mochizuki opened his first Shabuway in San Mateo in 2004. That was followed by another in downtown Mountain View in 2006, which has proved so popular there’s sometimes an hour wait to get in. Last year, one also opened in the parking lot of Mitsuwa Marketplace in San Jose, which is the one I recently dined at as a guest of the restaurant.

The next ones to open will be in San Francisco’s Richmond District, Union City, and in Santa Clara on El Camino Real near the ever-popular Korean fried-chicken joint, 99 Chicken.

The meat is sliced to order.

With its glossy red interior, the San Jose locale features a large U-shaped counter in the center, where lone diners or couples can sit. Behind it, wait staff man a slicer to shave Kobe-style beef slices paper thin.

We sat at one of the tables that had an induction burner built into its center.

On the table are condiment jars of chopped fresh green onion, garlic, and a chili paste made with grated daikon. Immediately after you’re seated, you’re also brought dipping bowls of housemade creamy sesame sauce and sweet-salty-citrusy ponzu sauce.

First, choose your broth: either a light seaweed one or spicy miso. If you sit at a table, you can enjoy half of each type of broth with a nifty yin-yang-like divider in your pot, which is what we opted to try.

While Shabuway offers items like shrimp pot stickers (not made in-house), why go to a shabu-shabu restaurant if you’re not going to indulge in some shabu-style cooking, right?

At Shabuway, it’s all about the beef and lamb. The restaurant offers aged Prime Angus, American Kobe beef, Premium Kobe beef, American Kobe Lean beef, and lamb in small, medium and large plates, ranging in price from $12.99 to $20.99. You can even get extra meat on any order for an additional cost.

The "Half Kobe Beef and Half Lamb'' order.

It comes with a small plate of veggies.

My husband went with the “Half Kobe Beef & Half Lamb” ($14.99), while I ordered the “Vegetable Shabu Shabu” ($11.99).

It makes for an ideal way to dine for two people because you get more than enough to share. The huge veggie plate was brimming with Napa cabbage, bok choy, asparagus, broccoli, thin slices of kabocha, carrots, enoki mushrooms, shimeji mushrooms, cubes of tofu, and a small tangle of udon noodles.

Spicy miso broth on the left; seaweed broth on the right.

Using chopsticks or a handled strainer at the table, add your veggies to the broth to cook until tender. Fish them out and dunk them into your sauces and condiments to enjoy with bowls of steamed rice.

The slices of meat are so thin that they take merely seconds to cook. Mochizuki built a warehouse to age the meats for up to four weeks. The Kobe beef is extremely marbled. And the lamb so tender and  flavorful.

Your spicy miso broth may wind up quite fiery as it continues to cook down through the meal. But a waiter will be only too happy to add more broth to your pot to tone it down, if need be.

Because shabu-shabu is interactive, it’s a fun, convivial way to dine. With all the steam rising from the table, it’s also a great salve for a head cold. Yet it’s so satisfying, you’ll never need an excuse to enjoy it.

More to Check Out in the Mitsuwa Marketplace Lot: The Most Unusual Sandwiches Ever — at Clover Bakery

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  • Something that looks delicious and which I haven’t tried yet…



  • Oooh, it’s coming to my old hood? I gotta try! πŸ˜‰

  • I’ve never had Shabu but it looks a lot like hotpot, which I grew up having around Chinese New Year. It is a really fun group meal since it’s so interactive and you get to eat only what you want!

  • Now that is a beautiful bowl of food! I wish they’d come to my area!

  • I have never had it before but it looks so delicious!!

  • All those ingredients look so fresh and inviting. What a great experience to dine there and cook your own food – and have a facial! Wish we had one here in Sydney.

  • I used to go one in San Mateo with friends when it opened, but then we started to eat shabu shabu at home when we all got married and have kids (they don’t have big table to accommodate us). I don’t remember they had lamb. In Japan it’s usually beef or pork. And we eat lamb hot pot in Chinese hot pot place around the corner near shabuway. We thought this is a great business for Bay Area, especially we have cold nights in even summer and we can kind of eat hot pot all year around. And the ingredients are not expensive if you do shabu shabu at home (most expensive is meat). I didn’t know this store is expanded and now there are many locations! Wow, I should have opened it first!! LOL.

  • OK promise not to laugh at me but at first I thought that said “Subway” as in the sandwich place and I thought “hmm that doesn’t sound very Carolyn!” πŸ˜›

  • All of the ingredients look so vibrant in colour & fresh too! πŸ™‚ That’s a really good thing! It is a good review too!

    Thanks for sharing, my friend! πŸ™‚
    Have a great weekend!

  • I’m kind of lazy when I go out to dinner so I rarely go to shabu shabu because I don’t want to be cooking my dinner. But I have to say, I like how they divide the meat and vegetable shabu shabu in one pot.

  • Shabuway has been on my “list” for a while now. We’ll have to try it soon!

  • What a great looking place! That first photo is making me really need dinner πŸ™‚
    Hope you had a wonderful weekend!

  • 99 Chicken is one of my favorite places to eat. Now I’m going to have to choose between the two in Santa Clara!

  • Mrs. L: Don’t choose. Enjoy both. LOL You can start with an appetizer of chicken, then walk over to have shabu shabu for the main event. πŸ˜‰

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